Nutraceuticals are defined as foods which provide significant medical and health benefits to the user. One of the most commonly used nutraceuticals is ginseng as it contains many health benefits. The two main types of ginseng today, American and Asian, and they have different active ingredients, with panaxosides for the American variety and ginsenosides for the Asian variety. Siberian ginseng contains different active components than the two main types but have the same anti-stress properties. Nutraceutical effects of ginseng differs in quality between products due to the variation of active ingredients between them. Some nutraceutical ginseng benefits are mitigated when additives such as the mandrake root (induces vomiting) or banned drugs such as phenylbutazone are mixed into the ginseng formulation by unscrupulous manufacturers.
Nutraceutical ginseng is available in many forms such as the roots, extracts, ginseng solutions, capsules and also as additives in cosmetics, soda and tea. Many people claim that continually taking ginseng benefits their sexual libido, increases their energy and enhance their work environment by increasing physical and mental performance. Ginseng has also been reported to decrease blood sugar of diabetics and increase the High Density Lipoprotein or good cholesterol in the body. Taking ginseng supplements daily also causes an increase in hemoglobin and protein levels in the body.
However, as much as ginseng benefits the user tremendously, there are some side effects that need to be taken into account. Although one of the nutraceutical ginseng benefits is the lowering of blood sugar, this may cause problems when the user is taking diabetic drugs at the same time as it may lead to hypoglycaemia. Regular ginseng supplements have also been noted to cause nervousness and excitability and thus affects the overall concentration level of the person. Ginseng side effects also include headaches, allergy, insomnia, and causes digestive problems for some people. An estrogen-like effect has also been observed of ginseng so its use in pregnant women and children should be avoided. Some users have also reported that ginseng increases their asthma problems and increases blood pressure.
In the scientific literature, the nutraceutical ginseng benefits and side effects have been widely studied and this herb has one of the most extensive reviews and studies done on it. Researchers have noted several possible pharmaceutical drug interactions with ginseng which can include aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, estrogen enhancing drugs and hypoglycaemic drugs which are used to treat diabetic patients. It is thus a requirement to advise your health care professional if you are including ginseng in your daily diet for its various enhancements.
In conclusion, nutraceutical ginseng benefits definitely outweighs its side effects. Yet it is advisable for the user to study its drug interactions and side effects before considering to include ginseng into their regular diets.